August 1 Energy News

August 1, 2016

Opinion:

¶ “How the campaign against South Australian windfarms backfired” • A concerted media campaign to blame renewable power for high energy prices in South Australia went bust. The Environment and Energy Minister, who had once argued there was a “strong moral case for coal,” said such blame is not accurate. [The Guardian]

Hallett Wind Farm, South Australia. Photo by Ian Sutton. CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

Hallett Wind Farm, South Australia. Photo by Ian Sutton.
CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ “China-UK ‘Golden Era’ cannot afford to be delayed” • Britain’s decision to delay the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant program over security concerns not only draws questions from the international community about its openness towards foreign investment, but also adds uncertainties to the “Golden Era” of China-UK ties. [Xinhua]

World:

¶ The global battle against climate change passed a historic turning point, according to senior economists. China, the world’s biggest polluter, more than tripled its coal use from 2000 to 2013, emitting billions of tonnes of carbon dioxide. But its coal consumption peaked in 2014, much earlier than expected, and began falling. [Climate Central]

Pollution in the Henan Province, China. Credit: V.T. Polywoda / flickr.

Pollution in the Henan Province, China. Credit: V.T. Polywoda / flickr.

¶ In recent months, there have been a number of inaccurate media stories linking high electricity prices in South Australia with the state’s high proportion of wind and solar generation. However, a Climate Council report reveals that electricity price spikes in South Australia have reduced as renewable energy grows. [RenewEconomy]

¶ KCI The Engineers has completed the basic design of an offshore switchyard for Belgian transmission system operator Elia to combine and bring onshore electricity from several wind farms off Belgium’s coast. Currently North Sea wind farms are connected individually to onshore grids, but the new design changes this. [reNews]

Offshore wind farm. Elia image.

Offshore wind farm. Elia image.

¶ A 10-MW community solar farm planned for the regional Victoria’s city of Wangaratta could soon double in size, after a strong show of interest in the council supported project from both businesses and investors. The larger the solar farm is thought likely to attract from potential investors and power off-take partners. [One Step off the Grid]

¶ Poland, a country where hard coal and lignite power plants currently generate about 85% of the power, has passed a law that stymies a wind power expansion and is now mulling draft legislation that will help boost investments in new coal capacity. The eastern European country cited energy security reasons. [POWER magazine]

The lignite-fired Bełchatów Power Station. Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons/Morgre.

The lignite-fired Bełchatów Power Station.
Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons/Morgre.

¶ As much as 728 MW of solar energy has been synchronised with the grid in India’s Telangana state, surpassing the 5% target given by the central government. This is more than 10% of the 7,000 MW peak demand recorded in the state this fiscal so far. Telangana expects another 1,500 MW power by March next. [Deccan Chronicle]

¶ Global renewable energy production increased by 2.6% between 2013 and 2014, and reached a share of 13.8% in total primary energy supply, the International Energy Agency said last week. Annual growth rates in 1990 to 2014 have been especially strong for PV and wind power, at 46.2% and 24.3% respectively. [SeeNews Renewables]

2014 fuel shares in world total primary energy supply. Source: IEA

2014 fuel shares in world total primary energy supply. Source: IEA.

¶ British Prime Minister Theresa May was concerned about the security implications of a planned Chinese investment in the new Hinkley Point nuclear plant, and intervened personally to delay the project, according to sources. China General Nuclear Power Corp was set to hold a 33% stake in the Hinkley Point project. [The Japan News]

US:

¶ A desalination project proposed for California’s coast would draw water from one of the world’s deepest submarine canyons, making it potentially less harmful to ocean life. The Deep Water Desal facility would require substantially less energy to operate than typical desalination plants and use renewable energy sources. [Gizmag]

Topography of Monterey Canyon, the deepest submarine canyon on the west coast of North America.

Topography of Monterey Canyon, the deepest
submarine canyon on the west coast of North America.

¶ The Massachusetts legislature has passed a compromise energy bill and sent it to the governor. The bill would require utilities to solicit long-term contracts with offshore wind farm developers for at least 1,600 MW in the next 10 years and encourage delivery of larger supplies of Canadian hydropower and other renewables. [Odessa American]

¶ New Mexico’s solar energy developers say their industry is finally hitting its stride as thousands of new residential and commercial customers opt to go solar, and more utilities nationwide turn to the sun for electric generation. Plunging prices are driving the market for solar systems bringing waves customers. [Albuquerque Journal]

A 1-MW array sits atop the new Winrock Mall. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis / Albuquerque Journal)

A 1-MW array sits atop the new Winrock Mall.
Photo by Adolphe Pierre-Louis / Albuquerque Journal.

¶ The fate of upstate New York’s nuclear power plants could be decided today. The state’s Public Service Commission will vote on a massive nuclear power subsidy program that several plant owners say they need to survive and what anti-nuclear forces call a wasteful investment in a dangerous power source. [WRVO Public Media]

¶ Karenna Gore, daughter of former Vice President Al Gore, rejected a plea deal and now faces charges after being arrested for trespassing during a protest in June at Spectra Energy’s West Roxbury natural gas pipeline. Gore and seven others protested by lying down in a trench, disrupting the work. [People Magazine]

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